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Transition from care in Europe: Part 2

by PeakCare Qld on 1st December 2016

Home -> Articles -> 2016 -> December -> Transition from care in Europe: Part 2

TheEuropean Social Network promotes knowledge exchange among local public social services to contribute to effective policy development. One reportlooked at educational pathways for care leavers in five European countries - England, Denmark, Sweden, Hungary and Spain - and found that around 8% access higher education, which is about 5 times lower than young people overall. Poor education and employment prospects are increasing awareness across Europe about the need to improve the support provided for young people leaving care. This support may take several forms but is best when part of a coordinated and combined effort between social services and housing, mental health, and education and employment services.

Examples of support programmes include northern France’s Pas de Calais county council’sGarantie Jeunes– the French version of theYouth GuaranteeEU-funded employment programme for young people. The program is reinforced with a care guarantee, specifically designed for care leavers aged between 18 and 21 years. In the north-western region of Galicia in Spain,the Mentor programme, funded by theEuropean Social Fund, also includes provisions for young offenders aged 16 to 25 years. Espai Cabestany offers a one-stop shop where care leavers access information, guidance, support and services financed by the social affairs department of Catalonia’s regional government. Services include a set of apartments managed by non-governmental organisations; an education, training and employment project; and an economic support allowance for care leavers linked to their personal project funded by a bank. The data from the initiative shows that two thirds of those leaving care are either in training, preparing to access higher education, or are attending university.

Common denominators across the programs are the need for young people to have an appointed professional to bring all this together. In Europe, it is usually the role of a social worker to help the young person assess their situation, produce their personal plan, be their first point of contact, and coordinate services with other professionals. In every model, a key element for success is not only to prepare the young person for their transition into adulthood, but to support them throughout the process. This shows that with a well-planned and coordinated effort, the lives and opportunities of young people transitioning from care to independence can be transformed.

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